Once we reached the next campsite, he used to make us exercise, stretch compulsorily so that we wouldn't have much body-ache. He knew the right exercises, he knew his medicines and he knew how to discipline us too! I really admire the way he maintained the discipline in the group - be it about our food habits, be it wearing our socks and gloves in the cold weather, taking our medicines regularly or be it punctuality. For the first day or two, some of us couldn't get up on time or weren't ready on time, which delayed our trek. On the third, we were to get a nice little lecture from Vishal and to get punctual for the rest of our trek.
Every morning, Vishal used to tell us about the route that day.. which plants we would see, where we would cross a stream, where we would see a beautiful valley and so on.. And what I admire here is that he had never done this trek earlier, and still described the trail such wonderfully and with such a confidence..as if he were born there. We believed in every word of his!
Indiahikes is one of the few organisations who are committed to their fundamental principles. One of which is green trails. Every trekker is given an eco-bag to be tied to their waist. Trekkers are encouraged to pick up non-biodegradable wastes on the trail or campsite. The purpose is to leave the trails clean and green, as any of us would like to find them. All the non-biodegradable wastes generated on the treks is also brought back to the cities.
Indiahikes runs a unique internship for young enthusiasts, where they work towards creating green trails. We met two such interns in our first camp, in Sewa. They were studying in one of the IIMs. Unfortunately, when we asked them about their work, they seemed to be a little annoyed and told us that they would tell in a session they would conduct in the evening. This seemed a bit surprising. My usual experience is that people get really excited when asked about their work..specially when they were doing something uncommon. They do talk a lot about what they are doing and why they love it! There is also a special 'Green Trails' trek a couple of times every season (on every trail), which is dedicated to this mission!
Later on I gathered more about the internship. Interns stay in villages on or near the trail of a particular trek. They conduct sessions for villagers educating them about wastes, waste disposal, its ecological effects and such. They also worked with the village heads and Panchayat to create awareness among people, to create mechanisms for effective waste disposal in the villages and to solve problems around this issue.
Green trails is one of the reasons I find people at Indiahikes very respectable!
After the interns turned us down, we all dispersed. Some went to sleep, some went for a walk in the village, a lot of us some started playing cricket. My friend and I quietly picked up our cameras and sneaked out. A minute later, another trekker joined us. Seeing him, two more jumped out of their sleeping bags.